Jackson's buck

Jackson VanDam with his first buck

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

As you can see, Jackson got his first buck this year. It was the last day of muzzleloader season. We were hunting near a food plot when about 20 does wandered into an open field. We waited. I figured a buck would show at some point. Finally this one did.

I'm really proud of how Jackson handled it. You know he missed a good one on opening day. But he didn't miss this one. He relaxed, took his time, made sure everything was right and completed a very difficult shot. The results are in the photo — and our freezer.

Really, when you stop to think about it, he's had a heck of a year hunting. This spring he bagged a turkey, and this fall he killed a doe and a buck. That's a good year by any measure.

I also want to take this opportunity to say Merry Christmas to everyone and wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

As 2009 comes to an end, it's hard to list all of our blessings. I had a good year fishing, but, more important than that, our family had a good, healthy year. We have some friends who weren't so fortunate. Sherry and I, along with the boys, wish them the best in 2010, along with anyone else who's fallen on hard times.

And I don't want to forget to say thanks to bass anglers everywhere, the companies who make professional bass fishing possible, BASS and my fellow competitors. Despite the tough economic circumstances our country faces, we've managed to get through this year in pretty good shape. Hopefully, 2010 will be even better.

I think — actually I know — it will. One thing I understand is fishing and fishermen. Tough times or not, men and women will go fishing. As we pull out of this recession, things are going to get better. With that will come more fishing. There's no doubt about it. It's a fact of life.

Most of all, however, I want to say thanks to the men and women who are serving in our armed forces, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan. They're giving up their Christmas with their families — in some cases their very lives — so we can spend ours with our families.

That's no small thing. Every one of us should be mindful of that and help them in anyway we can. Their sacrifice makes our lifestyles possible. Whatever we do for them, it isn't enough.

Next week we'll talk about ice fishing for bass and bluegill. (Yes, believe it or not, you can run and gun for bass over hard water.) Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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